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It's a Sauter!

Posted By: Digitus

It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:05 PM

On Sunday night I rang Singapore's Sauter dealer, Alvin Wee, and committed myself for an Omega 220.

I can't remember exactly when I really started to look around for a grand piano, but I guess it was about three or four months ago. My attempt to start over again on the piano after a hiatus of 25 years was going very well, despite my frequent business travel.

I did something that ultimately proved to be my undoing - I started visiting piano showrooms to play on their grand pianos. I was initially just kicking the tires, with no real intention to buy. But there were such big differences between my Kawai K-8 and the grand pianos that I started thinking of ways of funding the purchase of a grand, including winning the lottery and robbing a bank!

I did the rounds, playing on instruments from Yamaha (C3, C5, C6, C7, S4), Shigeru Kawai (SK-5, SK-6, SK-7), Steinway (Model A), Bluthner (Model 6), Fazioli (F183, F212), Brodmann (BG187), Estonia (190), and Schimmel (189T).

But one thing was troubling me. Pianos are very personal things, and you really do need to have access to a technician who is able to bring out the best in your instrument. This is true for all pianos, but especially true of high-end pianos. I believe that the money one pays for the instrument must also guarantee the availability of a first-rate tech. And that the more one pays for an instrument the stronger that guarantee should be. At none bar one of the dealerships I had visited up to that point in time did I feel sure that that was what I was going to get.

And then I popped in to visit the Sauter dealership, Raffles Piano, located near the box office of the Victoria Concert Hall. As Wzkit found when he was shopping for a grand piano back in 2005, in Singapore one buys a Sauter piano because it is a first rate instrument, and because Alvin (as proprietor and super-tech) comes as part of the package!

Although Alvin did not have an Omega in the showroom, it wasn't difficult to get a sense of the generic Sauter sound by listening to Wzkit's recordings, recordings that Alvin sent to me, and by playing on the Alpha 160 in the showroom. I've also heard how much the tone of a Sauter grand can be shaped by tuning and careful voicing of the hammers. I decided to stop looking further.

It's really unnerving to buy such an expensive piano sight unseen (sound unheard?). However, strong endorsements from knowledgeable PW members, via posts and PMs, gave me confidence that I would not be disappointed.

My Omega will be a custom job in terms of finish and voicing. The piano will be mostly polished black, but Alvin and I are looking at options for different finishes for the plate, fallboard, cheek blocks, underlid, and inner rim. (Would it be too over-the-top to have my name inlaid on one of the cheekblocks?)

Delivery is slated for April 2008, so its going to be a long nine-month wait. At least that will give me time to re-organize my flat to make space for the new baby (it will be a boy, by the way). Please don't ask me how on earth I managed to swing an April delivery when production until July 2008 has been spoken for.

So, I'm going to be in debt for a while. It's not financially prudent, but a recent health scare (and deteriorating hearing) has made me determined to get my dream piano now, while I can still play (and hear). Life is short, and I'd like it to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible.
Posted By: Catlady

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:21 PM

Good for you! You're getting a great piano from an OUTSTANDING dealer. thumb yippie
Posted By: michael56

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:24 PM

As the proud owner of a Sauter (Delta 185), let me be the first to congratulate you on your choice. It is an excellent solid choice, and I wish you many years of pleasure with your piano.
Posted By: Monica K.

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:37 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Digitus:
It's not financially prudent, but a recent health scare (and deteriorating hearing) has made me determined to get my dream piano now, while I can still play (and hear). Life is short, and I'd like it to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible.
Very wise words.

Congratulations, Digitus, on your impending delivery. Can't wait to see the custom finish. smile
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:42 PM

Oh that was fast! Thanks Catlady and michael56.

Actually, Alvin seems to be even more excited than I am about the purchase!

I've also got a plan to improve the Partner Acceptance Factor. Get partner started on the piano! Interest has already been expressed, so sometime this week I will go pick up the John Thompson books. They may be written for kids, but I think they get the point across much better than the method books for adult learners.
Posted By: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:46 PM

Quote
Life is short, and I'd like it to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible.
That, more than anything else, should be the number one reason for purchasing a fine instrument (or a few). wink Bravo, and may you enjoy many, many wonderful years with your "baby".
All the best,
Dan
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:56 PM

Monica & Dan: Thanks for your kind wishes.

Monica: Last November I said I'd post pictures of my K-8, but didn't. I promise I will do so for the Omega!
Posted By: Piano*Dad

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 10:59 PM

Congratulations on a fine new instrument. Now, will it have to be hauled up 20+ floors too? ..... laugh
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 11:06 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
Congratulations on a fine new instrument. Now, will it have to be hauled up 20+ floors too? ..... laugh
Thanks very much!

And no the delivery won't be anywhere near as hair-raising as Wzkit's Delta. My flat is two floors below road level (the units progress step-wise down an incline). There are no lifts (elevators in the U.S.), but the stairs go straight down, no turns.

I plan to downgrade to public housing in a few years time, and my choices will be limited by stairwell dimensions and floor level. :rolleyes:
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 11:11 PM

Congratulations!! We look forward to the pictures of the custom cabinet.

Enjoy
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/10/07 11:46 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Rod Verhnjak:
Congratulations!! We look forward to the pictures of the custom cabinet.

Enjoy
Thanks Rod! Alvin promises that it will be a stunner! wink
Posted By: schmickus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 12:38 AM

"It's not financially prudent, but a recent health scare (and deteriorating hearing) has made me determined to get my dream piano now, while I can still play (and hear). Life is short, and I'd like it to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible."


Digitus,

YES, you are absolutely right! Wisest words I came across on this forum since long laugh

And YES, the Omega 220 is a spectacular piano with a vast range of sounds.

Congratulations! Well done! Please keep us posted ...

Kind regards from Beethovens city of birth, Bonn, Germany to Singapore

Schmickus
Posted By: swampwiz

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 01:20 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Digitus:
I plan to downgrade to public housing in a few years time, and my choices will be limited by stairwell dimensions and floor level. :rolleyes:
I don't think anyone in public housing (in the USA, at least) would have a Sauter.

I remember getting an apartment in which an upright could not be moved up the stairwell, so I had to get a console. Fortunately, that console was a Charles Walter, so it's not like I had to compromise.
Posted By: John Citron

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 01:47 AM

Congratulations Digitus!

A wise choice, and for a good reason. I made my Vogel purchase under similar circumstances. For me owning a grand piano was a dream I had for a very long time and was saving up for it. When my rude awakening hit, I went out and got my piano right away. I figured I'd get as much out of it as I could before I couldn't play at all.

John
Posted By: bkkmd

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 03:44 AM

Congratulation. With this type of quality piano, I don't think you need to second guess yourself and wonder if you are making a right decision. You are! The waiting will be painful but well worth it!
Posted By: Norbert

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 04:44 AM

Wonderful make and model - we sold a few ourselves: these are truly stunning pianos.

Once we sold one to a [retired] real estate tycoon who at age 83, sold his mansion with everything in it.

However,he insisted to take the Omega with him to his new million $$ penthouse overlooking the ocean.

Scrambling for one of the biggest cranes in the city was the only problem he encountered.

Congratulations and hoping they have nice cranes in Singapore as well........

Norbert thumb
Posted By: snoopycar

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 06:49 AM

Stunning choiCe!(still fixing back my lower jaw)

Now your K-8 has a new beautiful companion.....
Did Alvin gave you the giant size Saulter poster??
Congrats in advance laugh
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 08:03 AM

Schmickus : I don't know what it is about Sauter (and perhaps handmade German pianos in general), but the workmanship and attention to detail are exquisite. I also appreciate the thoughtfulness that Sauter puts into their design, from both the engineering and cosmetic points of view.

swampwiz : You are right. Public housing in Singapore is not quite the same as in the U.S.A. Even then, grand pianos (particularly of the 183 - 200+ cm variety) are very rare. And Sauters are rarer yet. Alvin insists that I must drag him along when I start looking for a new flat. I can almost imagine him skulking around the stairwells with a cut-out of the Omega.

John Citron : Quite often one doesn't appreciate what one has until it is in danger of being lost. I've experienced many reality checks in my life, and this one has had the most profound effect on me. I don't need a nice car anymore (they are too expensive in Singapore anyway), I don't need a fancy house, and I don't need to upgrade my hifi anymore (not with my ears the way they are now). Just give me my piano, some nice food, good family and friends, a reasonably comfortable home, and I will be more than happy.

bkkmd : I wish I had the chance to try a Grotrian, but that's not possible in Singapore. In any case, the Omega is a good choice by any stretch of the imagination.

Norbert : I hope my Omega didn't come out of your order (just kidding).

snoopycar : The Omega is a boy, so it is handsome rather than beautiful! The K-8 will have to be sold - I can't afford to have two pianos. And no, Alvin didn't give me the giant Sauter poster. But why would I want it anyway, if the real thing is sitting there...heheh.

I've had a request from Ulrich Sauter and Alvin to allow genuine customers to visit my home to play on the Omega. I had absolutely no hesitation in agreeing to this. In fact, I said yes even before Alvin finished asking the question!

There will be no visit to the Sauter plant in Spaichingen. Alvin knows what kind of tone I like so will make sure that the piano is prepped that way as much as possible. Fine tuning will be done after it arrives in Singapore.

But I do visit Amsterdam a couple of times a year for work, so I will make it a point to pop into Spaichingen on one of my visits.

My sincere thanks to all for your very kind wishes.
Posted By: bkkmd

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 10:08 AM

Digitus, when I looked for my grand piano, in my budget, the top two contenders that I had was Grotrian 192 and Sauter Delta. It was a tough call and the two pianos were in very different environment. I ended up with Grotrian partly because of the slightly better deal and I felt that I would get better service from Grotrian dealer over here. As far as the piano is concerned, I would be very happy with either, for sure. I never had a chance to try a bigger Grotrian or Sauter but I am very jealous of your new boy smile
Did you try a Steingraeber at all? I heard that there is a dealer in Singapore. I am almost tempted to go over there just to try it but afraid that I might like it too much smile
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 10:29 AM

bkkmd: My guess is that if I had to break a tie between Grotrian and Sauter in Singapore that I would most likely choose the latter. And that's because I know (not feel) that I will get better service from the Sauter dealer.

No I didn't try Steingraeber. Frankly, the differences between these top tier pianos are highly subjective. I would be happy with any of them, so the deciding factor boils down to support from the dealer. And in that case I don't think they come any better than Alvin. smile
Posted By: bkkmd

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 10:43 AM

Absolutely, if I am in Singapore, everything that I heard about Alvin certainly would be a major boon for Sauter. I would not be surprise if I make similar choice to yours (although an Omega would most likely be beyond my budget but a nice Delta would certainly make me very hapy ).

Wzkit was in Bangkok recently. I am not sure if he did make it to Grotrian dealer while he was here. I certainly would like to hear his opinion on Grotrian vs his Sauter.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 11:11 AM

bkkmd: Wzkit recently had his Delta voiced by Alvin. From all accounts the results were stunning. I hope that Wzkit can give us an idea of the changes, and perhaps a recording or two.

The Omega is also beyond my budget, so I will be going into debt for it. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I'd be paying so much money for a piano. But what the heck - I only live once! laugh
Posted By: RichterForever

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 08:09 PM

Congrats Digitus. Life is for the living. I travel quite a bit and occassionally find myself in Amsterdam. The Concertgebouw is just a short stroll from my hotel and I always try to find some time to attend a concert there. You should too if you haven't already.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/11/07 09:45 PM

Thanks RichterForever. Yes the Concertgebouw is a fabulous venue. I was in Amsterdam four times this year. On the last occasion in mid-June Alfred Brendel was playing but I didn't have time to attend. frown
Posted By: Raffles

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 05:18 AM

Digitus : It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to serve you. Thank you for your kind patience in listening to me, sharing your thoughts and view. I look forward to the arrival of your Omega which I know it will gives you many hours of joy and happiness. smile


Catlady : Thank you very much. We all try our best for the benefit of all pianists and the pianos. It is our responsibilities. I am certain you have the same qualities if not better. smile


bkkmd : You are most kind. smile Thank you for your good words. I owed my piano technical skill to Mr Sauter, Mr Kaufmann and few Master Craftmen in the factory. They had been very patient in guiding and teaching me the importance of piano building as it is an art by itself. They had instill in me the committment to do the best for the pianos. It is an art and craft that I sincerely treasured and embraced. Many who had crossed path with Mr Sauter has only good things to say about him. I have great respect for him as he is truly a man of high integrity, sincere, honest and hard working. He has earned the respect from cleaning personel to the top management in the factory. Many of us who know him can see these important qualities in his pianos. wink

Thank you to all in Piano World and also Sauter owners who had congratulated Digitus on his Sauter Omega purchased. smile
Posted By: RickG

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 06:24 AM

Digitus,
May I also congratulate you on your new piano. Out in these parts, we don't see Sauters but everything that I read here makes me want to play one. Here is hoping for many years of enjoyment with your new piano.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 06:53 AM

Raffles (Alvin): We have many things in common and it is gratifying to have become firm friends with you in such a short time. I appreciate the fact that you genuinely don't seem to care whether I buy a piano from you or not. It has been fun spending time with you doing nothing more than talk about pianos, life (and mother-in-laws!) and exchanging piano tracks.

Your personal passion and knowledge of pianos in general is very reassuring to all of your customers. You are clearly not in the business for the money, at least not to become fabulously wealthy. laugh

I must therefore advise you (with tongue somewhat in cheek) that your choice of adjective is inappropriate. You are not 'serving' me nor any of your other customers, because it is a mutually beneficial relationship. And if the customer buys a Sauter from you, then that relationship becomes a very long-term one! smile
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 07:09 AM

Quote
Originally posted by RickG:
Digitus,
May I also congratulate you on your new piano. Out in these parts, we don't see Sauters but everything that I read here makes me want to play one. Here is hoping for many years of enjoyment with your new piano.
Hey RickG, thanks for you congratulations. It really is quite an event for anyone to buy a piano, any kind of piano at any price, because it and the music touches something vital within us.

I can tell you that Sauter pianos are also hard to come by over here, though perhaps not as rare as in Texas! Fortunately, Sauter grands are so consistent in action, generic tone and overall quality that I was prepared to buy the Omega sight unseen after playing on the Alpha 160 in the showroom. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Alvin sent me recordings of the Omega in various contexts and musical genres. That was helpful.

The Sauter uprights aren't shabby either, by the way.
Posted By: Raffles

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 08:30 AM

My apologies for the wrong choice of the word smile

You are right on this
<< that it is a mutually beneficial relationship. And if the customer buys a Sauter from you, then that relationship becomes a very long-term one!>>

This is very true indeed. smile
Posted By: ejsauter

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 05:56 PM

Congratulations.

Here is a recording made on an Omega.

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=4921770&style=classical&cart=596367434
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 08:44 PM

Quote
Originally posted by ejsauter:
Congratulations.

Here is a recording made on an Omega.

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=4921770&style=classical&cart=596367434
Thanks Gene! I have heard a couple of tracks from the Mursky album. To be honest, that's not how I would like my Omega to sound, even after allowing for the strange acoustic of the recording venue. smile
Posted By: ejsauter

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/12/07 09:09 PM

Mine does not sound like the recording. But the recording certainly has a very distinctive tone compared to many piano recordings.
Posted By: ChatNoir

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/13/07 07:34 AM

Congratulations, you have indeed gotten yourself a very fine piano. I went by a piano store on the way home today, and they had two Sauters on display. I tried them both, and they were excellent instruments. I also played a Steingräber for the first time, and I found it very, very likeable.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/13/07 10:42 AM

ChatNoir: Thanks for your wishes. All are great pianos. As I said, I would happy with all these top instruments, so the deciding factor would be support from a good tech. smile

Edit: And a price that minimizes my debt! eek
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/13/07 11:43 AM

Mr Kwan of Emmanuel & Sons, the local Fazioli dealer, just dropped me a line congratulating me on my choice. He also invited me to continue to visit to play on his pianos.

Now how's that for class. I was about to visit him to tell him in person about my decision, and to thank him for being so patient with me. Mr Kwan is an expert tech himself.
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/13/07 06:30 PM

Man, I can't believe i'm so late on this thread!

Digitus:

CONGRATLUATIONS!!!

At first I guessed you would go for the Shigeru, so imagine my (very pleasant) surprise that you were going for Sauter, and an Omega no less! It seems like a replay of what I what I went through two years ago. It looks like you made your choice based on the very same factors that I did - Alvin's great service. Don't worry about the debt. Money can be earned back with time. But time once lost, is lost forever.

How are you intending to have it voiced? Mellow? Creamy? Or clear and transparent? Thought about the choice of fallboard and finishing yet?

I'm quite excited for you actually. Just gave Alvin a message to congratulate him on his next sale. I'm so happy that you made this choice. Wish I had the time to actually meet you on your piano hunt!

I do intend to upgrade to an Omega once I get a bigger place. May I have the pleasure of sampling your Omega when it arrives? laugh The offer is open for you to sample my Delta too smile

Keep us updated!

Bkmdd:

Unfortunately my schedule did not give me chance to visit the Grotrian dealer while in Bangkok. However, I did pass by Robinsons at Siam Discovery Centre. Interesting special edition Steinways they have there! Did not want to go inside - thought it would seem funny for me to just browse. But I did notice the price of the Steinways is significantly higher than what one would pay in Singapore!
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/13/07 07:50 PM

Wzkit: Thanks very much!

To be honest the choice was down to a Fazioli F-183, and the Sauter Omega 220. I would have been happy with either instrument. The latter won on a combination of price and service.

It's hard to describe the kind of tone I like so here are some adjectives: round-ish yet articulate, with a slightly harder attack, and a leaner envelope. I like the harmonically rich Sauter sound, but not taken to the extreme like the Omega used in Mursky's album. Probably the best Omega tone I've heard so far is that of the piano used by the CĂ©cile Verny Quartet on their 'Got A Ticket' album. Maybe my taste is somewhere between European and American.

Alvin and I have already talked about cabinet and bench customization. We've picked out a tentative scheme, and I think he'll be in Spaichingen in November to match the veneers.

Although it would have been fun to have you along during the hunt, it would actually have been very difficult for us to meet. You see, I work from home when I'm not traveling. This gives me the flexibility of going to piano showrooms during the weekday, when you would be at work. I have family commitments during the weekends so that works out fine for me.

You are most welcome to pop over to play to your heart's content. It will provide my neighbours with some respite from listening to me struggle with my hands and wrestling with the piano. As I said earlier, I have agreed to Ulrich Sauter's request that I allow genuine prospective customers to visit. And you are as genuine as they come! smile
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 07:56 AM

Digitus,
I thought that the Fazioli 183 sounded better than its larger cousin too. Mellower, and a slightly heavier touch that was easier to control.

I'm not sure that I would describe the Omega in Mursky's album as harmonically rich. In fact, the attack seems a little too sharp for my tastes, especially when he plays loudly. I prefer a mellower, creamier, yet clear and articulate tone. To my mind, such a sound offers the most tonal possibilities.

I have not heard the album by the Cecil Verny Quartett. Would you be so kind as to lend it to me someday?
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 09:20 AM

Wzkit: By harmonically rich I meant big fat sound. Yes that attack sounds so unnatural particularly when played fortissimo. That album does not give a true indication of what the Omega 220 is capable of. It is a downright bad recording of a wierdly prepped piano. At least one track ('Campanella') was on the Concert 275. Again bad prep - the piano sounded brittle.

About the Faziolis, my initial reaction was, how shall I say this, shock and awe (thank you Mr Bush). Truly stunning pianos in every way, if you can get past the sticker shock.

But they aren't for everybody. Tonally they do need rounding out to be less clinical. Touch-wise both the F212 and F183 gave me control that initially felt to be almost other-worldly. On my second visit I spent more time on the F212 and decided that perhaps a much better pianist than I would have more success controlling it. I also discovered that my pedal technique sucks on pianos with long sustain!

That particular Cecile Verny Quartet album was released in 1998 (got this from her website). It's not available on either Amazon.com or cduniverse.com. The couple of tracks I have came from Alvin. I would love to get the album if I could just find it. Cecile Verny has just released another album, but I don't know if the Omega was used on it or not.
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 11:43 AM

Yes, brittle is the word to describe it. From my observation so far however, the characteristic Sauter tone does tend towards a lean and sharp attack when played loud. It may not be for everyone. But the real beauty of the Sauter tone is when it is played softly. That's when the harmonic richness, coupled with the clarity makes for quite an unbeatable combination, in my opinion.

I also agree with you about using the word "clinical" to describe the Fazioli tone. It does have its own beauty, but it may not be for everyone. Personally, I think the Sauter tone may suit me better. But I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Fazioli's action. A pity about the price tag though!
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 12:18 PM

Wzkit: I am sure the Omega will be everything that it promises to be. Your very good Delta recordings were among those that were helpful in getting a fix on the sonic possibilities.
Posted By: lilylady

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 01:08 PM

Lucky you! Sauters are beautiful pianos. I tried the grands at Catlady's and uprights there and in NYC.

But what a long wait you have in front of you. It will be worth it and your custom cabinet unique and beautiful. Bet you could even have Ulrich sign it for you along with your name engraved. ;-) LL
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 02:34 PM

lilylady: Yes it is going to be a long and agonizing wait. It has been said that the thrill is in the wanting, not the having. In the Omega's case the thrill is in the wanting and the having.

Alvin suggested having my signature applied to one of the cheek blocks. I'm so tempted to, but it seems just a little crass. And yes, getting Ulrich Sauter to sign it sounds like a good idea! Where, do you reckon? On the soundboard perhaps?
Posted By: lilylady

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 04:31 PM

One cannot view the soundboard. I would suggest on the plate. Or on the front of the action which would then be seen only when it was slid out. I was thrilled years ago when I purhchased and antique organ and we had to restore it a bit. When we got to the keys, it was signed on the side of a key and we opened it almost 100 years to the day. ;-) LL
Posted By: Norbert

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 08:05 PM

We have 2 showrooms full of pianos but everytime I come home and have our 49"Sauter upright to play, it is a special treat.

Recently I had one of our customer's consider the very same piano, so I invited him home to have a look at ours.

My 13 years old girl who already is a performer, opened the door and said: "Hello, come on in, you can look - but not buy!"

Looks like this piano, which was essentially a gift to my kids, will never be "for sale"....

Norbert wink
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 10:25 PM

Norbert, out of curiosity, which model of Sauter upright do you have at home?
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/15/07 10:55 PM

Quote
Originally posted by lilylady:
One cannot view the soundboard. I would suggest on the plate. Or on the front of the action which would then be seen only when it was slid out. I was thrilled years ago when I purhchased and antique organ and we had to restore it a bit. When we got to the keys, it was signed on the side of a key and we opened it almost 100 years to the day. ;-) LL
Ah yes, the plate is a good suggestion.

I love listening to live organ music. And I mean a large pipe organ in a large venue. The immersive sonic and musical experience is one-of-a-kind. Living in Asia means that such experiences are few and far between.

My most recent attendance at an organ recital was at St. Bavo's Church in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Pieter van Dijk played an hour's programme on the church's Christian Muller organ (1738). I am an absolute plebian when it comes to the organ repertoire. But it doesn't stop me from enjoying the music and getting frissons up and down my spine when Bach is played while the setting sun lights up the beautiful stained glass windows.

If you happen to be in Amsterdam in mid-May to mid-October, try to take in a free recital at St. Bavo's. Haarlem is only a short 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station. There is a recital every Tuesday evening from 20.15 to 21.15 hrs. In July and August there are additional afternoon recitals from 15.00 to 16.00 hrs.
Posted By: FogVilleLad

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 01:18 AM

Digitus, if the download is the one in Real Player format, there's no telling what that Sauter sounded like. IMO Real Player colors the sound way too much.

Wzkit, because of being so taken with your recording of Ravel's "Pavanne..." I was ready to jump on an antique Ibach, c.190cm. Turned out to have only two pedals. Rats.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 06:31 AM

FogVilleLad: I have the MP3 of 3 tracks. They were not downloaded from the cduniverse.com website. You are right about Real Player colouring the sound, because the cduniverse.com samples are even worse than the MP3s. :p
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 06:56 AM

FogVilleLad:
I believe that recording does not show the Ibach at its best. The piano was slightly out of tune due to the humidity (it was a college piano). The piano tone also tended towards brittle to my ears, possibly due to a combination of abuse and poor maintainence. And did it have a heavy touch! Far heavier than my Sauter anyway.

Nonetheless I have to agree that this particular Ibach had a glorious singing treble, one of the very best I've encountered, and absolutely ideal for the repertoire which I recorded on it. Unfortuntaely the bass was somewhat lacking in depth. I felt for example, that my 6 foot Sauter Delta had a deeper and more resonant bass.
Posted By: FogVilleLad

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 07:48 AM

I wondered about that bass. I think that bass strings lose their musical qualities faster than do treble strings and did wonder - re this being an institutional piano - if part of their shallowness might not have been because they needed replacement.

If that antique Ibach had had three pedals, the first thing I'd have checked would have been its bass notes.
Posted By: bkkmd

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 08:44 AM

Wzkit, hopefully next time you are in Bangkok, our schedule might work out a bit better.

Digitus, personally, I think I would definitely be happier with Sauter or Grotrian than Fazioli. The 183 that I heard many times, initially really impressed me but after awhile, the tone kind of got on my nerve a bit. The crystal clear tone of Fazioli initially was attractive but its clinical, sterile or cold aspect was hard to live with in a long run. Personally I prefer the warmer, more romantic tone.

I have no idea how expensive a Steinway is in Singapore. When I made an enquiry about Hamburg A and B a little over a year ago, it was 4.3 million bahts and 3.7 million bahts (about $US 125,000 and 107,000 at current exchange rate)
retail. Fazioli 183 is somewhere in between, I think.
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 03:29 PM

Digitus:
I recall u mentioned that the touch of the Sauter Alpha in Alvin's showroom was a tad heavy. Did you request to have the Omega's touch lightened?
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/16/07 05:15 PM

Wzkit: Alvin says that the Omega's 'standard' touch is a little lighter than the Alpha's. That's likely to be enough for me. I don't want it so light that control becomes difficult (like the F212).
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 06:22 AM

Digitus,
The Delta's touch is indeed slightly lighter than the Alpha, so I would expect the same for the Omega as well. But it is not just about light vs heavy - the feel is very different as well. The Delta has a deeper key depth to my fingers, likewise for the Omega, I suspect. That can make a surprisingly large difference in the overall action feel. Whether a shallower or deeper key depth is a matter of personal preference.

Ideally, I would prefer the Delta to be just a tad lighter still - perhaps closer to Steinway or Shigeru Kawai/ Fazioli F183. I noticed that the Steinway 'B's that I have played have a relatively
shallow key depth as well, which I like.

So if I were to trade up to an Omega (which has been on my mind for awhile - pending the purchase of a larger home), I would customise the action somewhat, opting for slightly lighter and shallower touch, and a mellower, creamier, yet still clear tone.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 06:40 AM

Wzkit: I suspect that we have similar tastes in tone and touch. And I know what you mean about the key depth and feel. I'll see how things go with the Omega first, and then adjust accordingly. Sigh. April is so far away.

Under normal circumstances I would never ever buy a piano sight unseen, particularly one that costs so much. But when you know that your dealer/tech can tweak the piano the way Alvin can then it removes a lot of the risk and anxiety.

P.S. Aren't you supposed to be at work??
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 07:00 AM

On MC today. Had my IPPT yesterday and can hardly walk!
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 09:34 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Wzkit:
On MC today. Had my IPPT yesterday and can hardly walk!
Ah, OK. Fortunately I am well past the age when I have to do such things anymore. I guess you have quite a few more years left before you get the lovely thank you letter from MINDEF!
Posted By: GoatRider

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 04:48 PM

MC? IPPT? MINDEF? You're going to have to clue in us "foreigners".
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 05:50 PM

Okay, here's the quick and dirty on our very Singaporean acroynms, for the benefit of "foreigners"

MC: Medical Certificate, what your doctor gives you to pass to your employer when you need to go on medical Leave

MINDEF: Ministry of Defense

IPPT: Individual Physical Proficiency Test, the annual fitness test that Singaporean males have to take as part of compulsary military service.

Just a little more detail. At the age of 18, all Singaporean males have to serve 2 1/2 years (recently cut to 2 years) of compulsary full time miltary service, or National Service (NS) as it is called here. Thereafter, we have to go for reservist training duties once a year, maximum of 40 days a year (but usually 1-3 weeks) for around 10 years or so, until the age of 40 at maximum. That's a disruption from our civillian lives, and can start as early as the first year after full time military service, when most of us are in university.

As part of the reserve training duties, we have to go for our IPPT tests once a year. Its not a big deal when you're in your early 20s and fresh from full time military service. But into your 30s it just gets harder - our bodies just aren't what they used to be, plus add the fact that a civillian, sedentary lifestyle doesn't exactly do your body any favours - unless of course you exercise regularly, which I don't.

Mine was yesterday and though I managed to pass, it is clear that age is catching up with my body! Had a bad cramps in my legs after that frown
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 05:51 PM

Okay, here's the quick and dirty on our very Singaporean acroynms, for the benefit of "foreigners"

MC: Medical Certificate, what your doctor gives you to pass to your employer when you need to go on medical Leave

MINDEF: Ministry of Defense

IPPT: Individual Physical Proficiency Test, the annual fitness test that Singaporean males have to take as part of compulsary military service.

Just a little more detail. At the age of 18, all Singaporean males have to serve 2 1/2 years (recently cut to 2 years) of compulsary full time miltary service, or National Service (NS) as it is called here. Thereafter, we have to go for reservist training duties once a year, maximum of 40 days a year (but usually 1-3 weeks) for around 10 years or so, until the age of 40 at maximum. That's a disruption from our civillian lives, and can start as early as the first year after full time military service, when most of us are in university.

As part of the reserve training duties, we have to go for our IPPT tests once a year. Its not a big deal when you're in your early 20s and fresh from full time military service. But into your 30s it just gets harder - our bodies just aren't what they used to be, plus add the fact that a civillian, sedentary lifestyle doesn't exactly do your body any favours - unless of course you exercise regularly, which I don't.

Mine was yesterday and though I managed to pass, it is clear that age is catching up with my body! Had a bad cramps in my legs after that frown
Posted By: GoatRider

Re: It's a Sauter! - 09/19/07 06:53 PM

Thanks!
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 01:59 AM

After several false starts and fortuitous timing I have managed to swing a trip to Frankfurt for the Musikmesse. I will meet Alvin there on Friday 14th March.

After the fair we will travel to Spaichingen on Sunday, and then visit the Sauter factory on Monday. We will be able to watch some of the work being done on my Omega - the outer rim is being mated to the inner rim. We will also choose the instrument's 'birth certificate' number from several that Herr Sauter has offered.

[Edit: We may also be able to choose between at least two strung-backs. So it looks like I get to choose my piano after all, even though I bought it sight unseen.]

My palms are getting sweaty.
Posted By: eFatz

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 06:11 AM

geez what took me so long to find this thread?
Digitus, amazing choice that you have made!! I wish i had your kind of courage when splurging out on a piano...
anyway i saw something regarding public housing in singapore somewhere upstream in this thread. i guess i'm quite lucky in this aspect, i live in a HDB flat, but it's a very old "5-room A", which has a large living room and dining area combined. So this means that i can put (more than 1) grand piano in that area! And throw in the fact that my parents don't own a sofa... it's even better!
i currently have a weinberg H-61 (6' 6") grand and it takes up not even a third of my living room space, so no problems there...
Digitus, i suggest you look for the old bukit batok or chua chu kang 5 room A's when you go shopping for a HDB. this way you can definitely fit in your Omega
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 06:38 AM

Digitus,
Wish you all the luck in making your final selection. My trip to Spaichingen was exciting and highly memorable. Making the choice between two excellent, but very different speciments of the same model was not an easy one, but two years on, I believe I made the right choice.
Do keep us updated on your trip, and looking forward to hearing your new piano when it gets delivered!

Regards
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 06:40 AM

eFatz:

I was actually flat-hunting last year, but decided not to commit because the valuations were unrealistically high. The only flats I can consider are the older executive apartments (not maisonettes - I don't like multi-level dwellings), or the larger jumbo flats in Woodlands or Marsiling.

The courage to buy sight unseen was derived from what I've read about the Omega, and from my personal interaction with Alvin and Mr Sauter.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 06:56 AM

Wzkit:

Thanks for your kind thoughts. Alvin and I have had many discussions about the tonal qualities I like. And now that both of us will be there in Spaichingen at the same time as Herr Sauter, the latter can help us communicate accurately with Master Kaufmann to get the voicing done as much as possible to my taste (after allowing as much as possible for the different acoustics between the factory and my living room).

I am going to leave the touch pretty much 'as is' for the time being. Getting it adjusted now when I am moving from an upright to a grand doesn't make sense.
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 02:03 PM

Sounds great. Do send my regards to Herr Sauter and Alvin. I'm looking forward to my next tuning and servicing...my Delta has seen some heavier use lately smile
Posted By: ejsauter

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/09/08 05:23 PM

How exciting for you. I spent a long weekend in Spaichingen at the beginning of February (pictures to come). I saw many Omega's in process, perhaps one that you will eventually select. wzkit, I played several Delta's while there. Digitus, haben Sie eine gute Reise!
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 03/10/08 03:07 AM

Quote
Originally posted by ejsauter:
How exciting for you. I spent a long weekend in Spaichingen at the beginning of February (pictures to come). I saw many Omega's in process, perhaps one that you will eventually select. wzkit, I played several Delta's while there. Digitus, haben Sie eine gute Reise!
Thanks Gene! I'm even going to the trouble of lugging my DSLR along to take pictures with. You show me yours and I'll show mine! laugh

Actually, all the business travel that I have done (and loathe so much) paid for this trip in the form of redeemed frequent flyer miles. Unfortunately, in order to secure a seat at short notice, I had to blow a bundle of miles on a first class seat on Singapore Airlines. But its for a good cause, and I won't exactly be suffering on the 11 hour flight. laugh

I also managed to score a room at the Frankfurt Marriott for a fantastic rate. The hotel is right across the street from the Musikmesse!

So, I've got my air tickets, show tickets, and train tickets (from Spaichingen back to Frankfurt), and hotel room. I only hope that no emergencies pop up to de-rail the trip.
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/20/08 07:19 PM

My Kawai K-8 has just been sold. The new owner picks it up on Saturday. If the Omega's delivery schedule doesn't change then I now have a 4-week period in which I won't have a piano to play on. frown
Posted By: macdoc

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/20/08 07:41 PM

I'll trade your position for mine in a jiffy ..... 4 weeks abstinence and then a foreseeable delightful long time to come ... cool

Now lets see when will I see my Sauter ..... if ever ....

I spoke to Alvin earlier and he sounded more than delighted to have you camp out in vCH .... laugh
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/20/08 08:05 PM

What are you doing up in the wee small hours of the morning?

You actually asked Alvin? I was debating with myself whether I should ask or not. Very paiseh hor, because I sold the K-8 to somebody who was also considering getting a Sauter. So I told him I'd sold the K-8 but not to whom, and how could I then ask to use the Alpha in his showroom? laugh
Posted By: macdoc

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/20/08 08:20 PM

Feeding the monster.

He understands fully, I hope, why I am in "desperate" need for a quick fix ..... and he did feel quite taken aback at the thought of a Sauter left unattended for such a long period of time .... anyway time for me to hit the sack .... nite smile yawn yawn
Posted By: Wzkit

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/21/08 04:21 PM

Hmm..interesting..is macdoc another prospective Sauter buyer?

Am I missing something?
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/21/08 04:48 PM

WAS a prospective Sauter buyer. He bought my K-8 instead. laugh He and his wife really wanted an M-line upright, but his circumstances are such that it didn't make sense to get one just yet.
Posted By: macdoc

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/21/08 11:03 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Digitus:
WAS a prospective Sauter buyer. He bought my K-8 instead. laugh He and his wife really wanted an M-line upright, but his circumstances are such that it didn't make sense to get one just yet.
Not WAS ...... still AM ...... laugh
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/22/08 02:11 AM

Quote
Originally posted by macdoc:
Quote
Originally posted by Digitus:
[b] WAS a prospective Sauter buyer. He bought my K-8 instead. laugh He and his wife really wanted an M-line upright, but his circumstances are such that it didn't make sense to get one just yet.
Not WAS ...... still AM ...... laugh [/b]
Woohoo! thumb
Posted By: snoopycar

Re: It's a Sauter! - 05/23/08 03:15 AM

Sauter , in mandrin = "Hot-ones" laugh
Posted By: Digitus

Re: It's a Sauter! - 06/05/08 02:52 PM

The piano leaves the factory to be crated for shipping on June 20. With any luck it will arrive in the third week of July.
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